Work continues on city owned tennis courts at Seaford High

By Lynn R. Parks

A lease agreement between the city of Seaford and the Seaford School District has been renewed, continuing the partnership established years ago to maintain six tennis courts on the south side of Seaford High School.

At a recent city council meeting, city manager Dolores Slatcher told council members that the original lease had expired in 1998. But we just kept going on as though it still existed, she said.

A recent effort to improve the courts, and applications for funding for those improvements, required that the lease be reenacted. The new lease, approved by the city council by unanimous vote, is good for 20 years.

The courts had deteriorated to the point that last spring, they were deemed unfit for competitive play and the Seaford High School tennis teams had to play all of their matches on away courts. In August, the courts were resurfaced; cost was $47,744, half paid by the city and the other half by the school district.

A group called the Friends of Seaford Tennis went to work to raise additional money to spruce up the complex. By early December, the group had raised $21,500, including a $4,000 donation from the Nanticoke Rotary.

So far, said spokesman Jack Riddle, the friends group has bought a new equipment shed and new benches to accommodate spectators.

The group is in the process of painting the shed and repainting the hitting wall and the net poles. On order are new signs.

The courts will also get new LED lights, paid for by the friends group as well as with state funds obtained by the city of Seaford. City manager Dolores Slatcher said that she has requested $23,765 in Community Transportation Funds from state Sen. Bryant Richardson and state Rep. Dan Short to pay for the project. Approval of those funds was awaiting the renewal of the lease between the city and the school district. The entire lighting infrastructure except for the poles will be new, Slatcher said via email.

The new courts will be christened in a ceremony Thursday, March 30, starting at 4 p.m. They will be rededicated to Michael Alan Hastings, a Seaford native who was killed in a bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God, a plaque honoring Hastings says.

Riddle said that the friends group has received tremendous support from the school district, the city, the U.S. Tennis Association and area residents. It was amazing how everybody we asked to get involved did just that, he said. In my mind, this is the way things should go, with everybody working together to get something done.

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